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The Artist’s Way is a program for unblocking creativity developed by Julia Cameron. It’s not just for artists, musicans, writers, etc… It can help anyone who wishes to live a more creative life.

Back in 2002, I did The Artist’s Way for the first time, and it helped me through an episode of writer’s block. Recently, I facilitated a group of friends through the program, meeting mostly at my house, though our last meeting was on Zoom. At our last meeting, we decided that since everyone had gotten so much out of the program, and given the state of the world, we would mentor people through the program again in a Facebook group.

Over 100 people have now joined the group! If you would like to join us, you can request to join the Facebook group, Artist’s Way Sacred Circle. And here’s a link for acquiring the book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.

Wishing you all peace and hope.


winter landscape - winter sunrise

I’ve been trying to keep showing a cheerful front to the world here in this blog, Facebook and elsewhere, but it’s time for a confession. I haven’t done any creative writing in many months.

I’m not ready to go into the reasons at this point. I can only say that I’m facing a challenge bigger than any I’ve encountered thus far, including my husband’s stroke. The good news is that I have learned a lot from that crisis and am using it all now. I am no longer looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also discovered that I can light my own way.

My instincts (which have been serving me very well lately and I should have listened to before) are telling me to focus my energy on solving the current crisis and that it is OK to take a break from writing. Sometimes writing is a solace, but pushing myself to write now—even if I had time—would be like a runner trying to train on a broken leg.

I am doing is letting go of the guilt imposed by internal and external critics and trusting myself. I know how to be mindful, how to tell I am being too hard or too easy on myself, how to ask the right questions and find out what I need more of, what I need less of, not only to get through the crisis but to thrive afterwards.

I think we all can do this. As Jane Austen wrote, “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

In order to learn to attend to that guide, I’ve been rereading Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She writes about women’s need to “go home”, where “Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world.” One can “go home” many ways, including going into nature, praying, meditating, making art.

She also writes “if a woman doesn’t go when it’s her time to go, the hairline crack in her soul/psyche becomes a ravine, and the ravine becomes a roaring abyss.” I know from experience that this is true. So while I’m dealing with some crazy-making issues, I’m also doing my Morning Pages (a type of journaling taught in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron), meditating at every day and finding pockets of time to do smaller projects that sustain my creativity while demanding less time than the writing.

I am not leaving the Riskies, as our new schedule of posting just once a month allows me enough time to do the rest of the work I must do before I can write again. And I will get back to writing. The river hasn’t dried up; it’s only gone underground for a while.

Do you “go home”? How?


It’s been a rough week or so. The kids have been sick. I won’t bore anyone with the gory details, but they were . . . gory. It’s pretty sad when going to the mailbox feels like an outing.

I need a real one now.

I’ve managed to eke out a bit of writing time, but it’s been tough. It’s a bit like having sex—you can deal with a few interruptions, but too many and it’s really, really hard to recapture the mood. Like a couple who need to get away for a weekend, I need to get away with my muse (inner artist child, Girls in the Basement, subconscious mind, whatever you call the place ideas come from) and get her to stop sulking.

The little darlings are both in school today. If all goes well, I don’t get a call from the school nurse, and they continue to do well tomorrow, I’m heading out to the Corning Museum of Glass. I’m going to do a leisurely tour of the galleries (for fun, not research except in the laziest way), have lunch at the café and go make a sun-catcher at the Walk In Studio. Last summer my kids made projects there and as I was helping them I decided I’d like to try my hand at one myself. It’s time.

Whether you’re a writer or not, getting out and doing something fun and creative helps keep the juices flowing for other parts of your life. It’s what Julia Cameron calls an “Artist’s Date”. You go out to the movies, to a concert, bake, paint, take a walk in the woods or anything you think is fun and NOT directly related to your job. Anything that makes you feel like a kid with a brand new 64-count box of Crayolas.

Do any of you (writers or not) do Artist’s Dates (whether you call them that or not)? What do you do to keep your mojo? To get it back when it’s deserted you?

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee

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